Terry’s golden moment is a triumph for all of us
Last weekend I was absolutely delighted to be asked to write about the Academy Awards for this newspaper. As a fashion-designer-turned-film-critic, for me to review the red carpet glamour at the movie event of the year combines business with pleasure in the nicest possible way.
The other reason is that it gave me an excuse to see how Northern Ireland's own Terry George would fare with his nomination for The Shore, which, of course, took the statuette for Best Live Action Short Film.
I was lucky enough to meet the director last April at the film's premiere in Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast, where I was completely enthralled from the very first scene until the credits rolled. Terry was lovely — open, warm and friendly, just a typical Norn Iron fella in many ways, but with a passion and a zeal for his place of birth and the talent to do something very special with it. As for the film, well it's just perfect.
If you haven't seen it yet, or know nothing about it, here it is in a nutshell. The Shore tells the captivating story of the bond between two best friends from Co Down whose lives went separate ways during the height of the Troubles.
The heart-wrenchingly handsome Ciaran Hinds (himself a Belfast lad, born and bred) took a break from his usual epic Hollywood blockbusters to star in the lead role as Jim Mahon, who returns after 20 years in exile in USA to show his sophisticated and sassy American daughter his humble, simple roots and to retrace his childhood steps out of sheer nostalgia in the process.
It is essentially a homage to his homeland and his people. But unlike many films based in Northern Ireland, it is not introspective, sad, tainted by the Troubles and pessimistic for the future. Far from it, in fact. The craic is mighty; it's simple yet witty, sensitive and sympathetic, and as for belly-laughs, well there are some absolute belters.
I won’t tell you anymore, for fear of spoiling the story, but believe me it is absolutely sublime. Never before in cinema has “our wee country” looked so wonderfully welcoming and its people so warm and friendly. But the real star is the location itself ... where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.
Congratulations to all involved, what a wonderful achievement, what a great film and so worthy of this extraordinary accolade.